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USS John McCain collides with oil tanker near Singapore–substantial damage and 10 sailors reported missing

This is the third major crash of US Navy vessels in Asia in three months.

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The guided-missile destroyer USS John McCain (named for the current Senator’s father and grandfather) has collided with an oil tanker near the cost of Singapore.

The ship sustained heavy damage which has resulted in the injuries of 5 US sailors. Currently, 10 US sailors are missing.

The United States Navy has issued the following statement about the crash:

The USS John McCain had previously run into trouble when it violated Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea while heading towards Korean waters during the height of recent tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

READ MORE: USS John McCain violates Chinese sovereignty in South China Sea

According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore,

““There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected”.

Donald Trump has issued the following statement about the incident.

Singapore has confirmed that it is assisting the US with search and rescue efforts.

This is the third US ship to be involved in a major collision in Asian waters in  three months. On 17 June the USS Fitzgerald destroyer collided with a container ship from Philippines off the coast of Japan, an incident which killed seven men, while in May of this year the USS Lake Champlain crashed into a South Korean fishing boat.

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AM HantsGeorgeGDaisy AdlerScrewlooseJohn R. Nolan Recent comment authors
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Seems to me that it is the US warships that are a hazard to navigation in the South China Sea and wherever they go. Sailors will soon be telling each other that “you haven’t been to the high seas until you have been rammed by a US warship!”
The “exceptional” nation has truly lost its sense of direction.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Yep. you are right. No ship has been rammed by China’s artificial island, to date. 😉

Hamletquest
Guest
Hamletquest

Another US ship of state without a rudder…

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

The US Navy is becoming a tragi-comedy….

Its ships are sent to far off waters and all thney can do is collide with the very shipping, the freedom of navigation of which it is supposed to protect……

Are the wheels coming off not only US domestic and forteign policy but also the US Navy’s ability to steer a ship without colliding with others?

And what happens when another Navy decides to become angry with the arrogance and incompetence of the US?

I don’t give the US Navy much of a chance given current form……

TravelAbout
Guest
TravelAbout

Ironically I just added the whole first season of McHale’s Navy to my Netflix queue last week. Perhaps this series is reflective of how the US Navy actually operates?

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

No comments or regrets about harm to sailors on the civilian ships, or damage to the ships. Thank goodness the US Navy is always there to ensure the “freedom of the seas”. (Although apparently not freedom from being rammed).

David Graham
Guest
David Graham

This ship actually looks like it has been rammed!

JPH
Guest
JPH

It actually was. Keep in mind that merchant for hydrodynamic efficiency have a bulbous nose which is submerged when fully loaded and partially surfacing when not. So the inward bulge extends mostly under the water line of the destroyer and seems to have a diameter of close to 10 meters.

GeorgeG
Guest
AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Don’t forget USS Donald Cook X 3 and the USS Theodore Roosevelt X 2.

How many of the Aegis Destroyers have taken a hit? One aircraft carrier and how many others?

I wonder what the conversations in the various Messdecks covers?

GeorgeG
Guest
GeorgeG

And Richardson’s “series of major incidents” may include the Osprey crash.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

At the end of the day, those sailors signed up to serve their nation, not to serve the oil/gas/banking industries and so I do respect that there are missing sons, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, etc, etc, etc. Some of them are just young kids, fresh out of school. I would never knock them, just their Governments for using them as cannon fodder.

I did not know about the Osprey Crash, but, will try and catch up with Richardson ‘Series of Major Incidents’.

GeorgeG
Guest
GeorgeG

And at the beginning of the day, the fish stinks from the head down (that’s Benjamin Franklin, not some Italian saying as “the Mooch” thinks, and it actually comes from Old German). And people who work in the fish-shop soon do not smell the fish anymore. The sailors signed up for a job to work for a CiC of a country always at war, but with plenty of perks, not at all expecting to die for a cause, always needing an enemy, accepting whatever enemy is presented as the myth energizing motivation. In large parts of the US military including… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

I am not knocking the Forces and never will. You get bad apples everywhere, but, many of those kids sign up, with the best interests of their nations and are willing to give their lives for their people. Their leaders use them as cannon fodder, but, nobody complains about that? The MSM are the largest cheerleaders, remember the spin they put on the Iraq War and many others, in order to unite the nation and get them behind the ‘covert carnage’. The first priority of any nation is the national security and defence of their nation. Russia, is an excellent… Read more »

Bessarabyn
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Bessarabyn

US is a peril to international trade traffic and fishing . Overstretched zioimperialism . Next the USeless
navy will ram lighthouses – nearly happened as the joke goes , but the lighthouse guard spoke Canadian .
Yankee go home . !

Marshalldoc
Guest
Marshalldoc

Looks as though the Russians & Chinese can stop building expensive warships and just concentrate on building tankers and then just wait for the U.S. Navy to steam into them or fail to maneuver out of their way; they’re also useful for other things too…

Scott Robinson
Guest
Scott Robinson

Gobs in a Mess.

Shahna
Guest

Still the best post on this I’ve seen anywhere….
From one Muhammad Abbass on RT:

“What does it matter? The point of all these collisions is that evidently
the USA cannot even see other ships before they have been rammed by
them. A bit late to shoot missiles then.”

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Seems the war ship was struck “port side” aft, which means that vessel steamed across the tankers bow!!! This normally is the stand-on vessel, how ever, is pretty stupid, to pass that close to a 600 ft. Tanker steaming at possibly 20 or more knots and as the old saying goes can be “dead RIGHT” too!!!! was a very stupid maneuver fo a modern well e quipped navy vessel!!!!! More USN heads to roll???

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

I wonder why the watch did not notice, let alone all the technology on board? Was it working?

Simon
Guest
Simon

I’m not buying any hacking/super-weapon theories. Tankers and container ships sail mostly on auto-pilot in straight lines along well defined routes. And everyone, even peasant fishing boats with no more tech than a radio, usually manage to avoid bumping into them.
There’s no excuse, not the ‘laws of the sea’ or anything else – it is simply incompetence and negligence. A pair of eyeballs cannot be hacked. Clearly there weren’t any eyeballs on the McCain.

GeorgeG
Guest
GeorgeG

Just to be clear: I am not and was not selling any hacking/super-weapon theories, although none of this is science-fiction. I merely pointed out what is flying around on US military sites. Four “accidents” over a year seems enough to get people asking whether they are really *that* incompetent. Whatever the investigations turn up, the 7th Fleet is in no condition to run shows of force. Whether it is simply incomptence or that combined with being technologicaly outdone,… let them figure it out. Whether messages have been sent and received, or whether the US just has the opportunity to look… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

I was laughing with a friend of mine, who does not share my politics. Not far from where I live, the USS Theodore Roosevelt had to pop in, after President Putin authorised a submarine to give her a cute kiss and take out her electronic system. She crawled into the UK, docking up in Stokes Bay, not far from the UK Naval HQ in Portsmouth. Handed over details and then crawled down to a UK Naval Healthcare Centre in Devon, for major repairs. Just after similar actions from a French submarine, during a NATO exercise and just after a £multi-million… Read more »

Screwloose
Guest
Screwloose

Interesting snippets – thanks. The odd thing with this collision is the lack of any scrape marks surrounding the hole where the tanker T-boned it square-on – the impression from the stem is dead centre. It looks as though the 50,000 ton tanker was barely moving – or it would have cut the McCain in half – and that the US ship was effectively stationary. The tracking shows that the destroyer was maintaining a fairly straight course as it approached Singapore to dock and that the partially-loaded tanker was coming in, also on a straight course, from its port side… Read more »

GuyQ
Guest
GuyQ

The empire is exhausted

Simon
Guest
Simon

It’s being eclipsed.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

US doesn’t need wars to lose ships, helicopters and fighter jets. They are dropping like flies, everywhere, across the planet…

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Then you have the ones that don’t work or keep having to go back to military healthcare facilities.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

When two ships collide in high sea, there is always HUMAN error involved.

GeorgeG
Guest
GeorgeG

“I have directed fleet commanders to immediately conduct an operational
pause with commands and leaders across the fleet, to ensure we are
taking all appropriate immediate measures to enhance the Navy’s safe and
effective operation around the world…. This is the second major
collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of
major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” said Richardson.
“This trend demands more forceful action.” — http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-21/us-navy-halts-pacific-fleet-operations-historical-path-collided-warship-emerges.

So does “immediately conduct an operational pause with commands and leaders across the fleet” mean that the S. Korea / US maneuvers are called off?

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“So does “immediately conduct an operational pause with commands and leaders across the fleet” mean that the S. Korea / US maneuvers are called off?”

Doesnt look like it!
http://theduran.com/confirmed-us-south-korea-begin-massive-joint-military-drills/

lickeyleaks
Guest
lickeyleaks

Wiki tells me that these 4 ships are about the 30 years old mark, perhaps because US cant find or pick a “war” anywhere they have got to keep the arms and munitions factories ect busy and replacing or a major refit will tide them over for a time?
It will be like the latest fighter/bomber plane that they cant get right and need more money to correct it….. They are up to something, always are!!

spoint
Guest
spoint

The ship’s crazy too! I knew it.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision. Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision. Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course. Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course. Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States’ Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers and numerous support vessels. I demand that YOU change your course 15 degrees north, that’s one five degrees north, or… Read more »

spoint
Guest
spoint

Set the men on the oars to ramming speed!

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

What…not blaming Putin??? This is what happens when the US sticks it’s nose where it shouldn’t.

Aussie battler
Guest
Aussie battler

What about the freedom to navigate the South China Sea
Without being rammed by a US warship?!.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Really seems to fit with the ship’s name. Mc,Cain who is doing even more damage to what is left of the united snakes of amnesia!
Obviously their, the wanks, medications are not doing them a lot of good.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“leaving 10 U.S. sailors missing”
Read “leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead”
Don’t they use the “quart” in the US navy anymore? It’s inconceivable that everybody is asleep on a ship; Instead of looking only at the screen, they should watch out the sea. A 30,000-ton oil tanker is not a black speck on a surveillance computer screen.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

The latest US ships’ collisions reminded me of Plato’s “Ship of fools” allegory: “Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering––every one is of the opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and… Read more »

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Major Syrian Army Assault On Southeast Idlib As Sochi Deal Unravels

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months. 

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Via Zerohedge


The Syrian Army unleashed a major assault across the southeastern part of Idlib province on Saturday, a military source told Middle East news site Al-Masdar in a breaking report. According to the source, government forces pounded jihadist defenses across the southeast Idlib axis with a plethora of artillery shells and surface-to-surface missiles.

This latest exchange between the Syrian military and jihadist rebels comes as the Sochi Agreement falls apart in northwestern Syria, and in response to a Friday attack by jihadists which killed 22 Syrian soldiers near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major anti-Assad and al-Qaeda held region. The jihadist strikes resulted in the highest number of casualties for the army since the Sochi Agreement was established on September 17th.

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months.

The Al-Masdar source said the primary targets for the Syrian Army were the trenches and military posts for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the towns of Al-Taman’ah, Khuwayn, Babulin, Haish, Jarjanaz, Um Jalal, and Mashirfah Shmaliyah. In retaliation for the Syrian Army assault, the jihadist rebels began shelling the government towns of Ma’an, Um Hariteen, and ‘Atshan.

Damascus has been critical of the Sochi deal from the start as it’s criticized Turkey’s role in the Russian-brokered ceasefire plan, especially as a proposed ‘de-militarized’ zone has failed due to jihadist insurgents still holding around 70% of the planned buffer area which they were supposed to withdraw from by mid-October. Sporadic clashes have rocked the “buffer zone” since.

Russia itself recently acknowledged the on the ground failure of the Sochi agreement even as parties officially cling to it. During a Thursday press briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova admitted the following:

We have to state that the real disengagement in Idlib has not been achieved despite Turkey’s continuing efforts to live up to its commitments under the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of September 17.

This followed Russia also recently condemning  “sporadic clashes” and “provocations” by the jihadist group HTS (the main al-Qaeda presence) in Idlib.

Likely due to Moscow seeing the writing on the wall that all-out fighting and a full assault by government forces on Idlib will soon resume, Russian naval forces continued a show of force in the Mediterranean this week.

Russian military and naval officials announced Friday that its warships held extensive anti-submarine warfare drills in the Mediterranean. Specifically the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen conducted the exercise in tandem with deck-based helicopters near Syrian coastal waters.

Notably, according to TASS, the warships central to the drill are “armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km.”

Since September when what was gearing up to be a major Syrian-Russian assault on Idlib was called off through the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement, possibly in avoidance of the stated threat that American forces would intervene in defense of the al-Qaeda insurgent held province (also claiming to have intelligence of an impending government “chemical attack”), the war has largely taken a back-burner in the media and public consciousness.

But as sporadic fighting between jihadists and Syrian government forces is reignited and fast turning into major offensive operations by government forces, the war could once again be thrust back into the media spotlight as ground zero for a great power confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Libya’s Peace Process Dies in Palermo

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet to sort out their differences.

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Authored by Richard Galustian for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:


“Resounding flop” was the verdict of Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s Libya peace conference held in Palermo. He’s not wrong. The conference hosted by Italy’s new government achieved the remarkable feat of making Libya’s tensions worse, not better. Acrimony broke out between the parties, and Turkey’s delegation walked out, its vice president Fuat Oktay accusing unnamed States of trying to “hijack the process.”

Some sources in Palermo suggested, yet to be verified, that the US thought the Conference was not too bad: a joke if true.

Moreover the mystery we might ask is what “process” is there to hijack? Because the truth is, the peace plan the conference was supporting is already dead.

That plan was the brainchild of the United Nations, launched more than a year ago with the aim of ending Libya’s split between warring Eastern and Western governments with elections in December.

Even before the first delegates set foot in the pleasant Sicilian city of Palermo this week, the UN admitted the election date of December 10 they had decided to scrap.

The eastern government, led by the parliament in Tobruk, had made moves in the summer to organize a referendum on a new constitution which would govern the elections. But no referendum was held, and most Libyans agree it would be pointless because Tripoli, home to a third of the country’s population, is under the iron grip of multiple warring militias who have the firepower to defy any new elected government. Hours after the delegates left Palermo, those militias began a new bout of fighting in the Tripoli suburbs.

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end of the talks was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet in a grand conference to sort out their differences – and this after four years of civil war. To say that chances of this are slim is an understatement.

Dominating the Palermo talks, and indeed Libya’s political landscape, was and is Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, the country’s most powerful formation. In four years, the LNA has secured Libya’s key oil fields and Benghazi, its second city, ridding most of the east Libya of Islamist militias.

Haftar met reluctantly negotiators in Palermo, but insisted he was not part of the talks process. The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar, at the event along with Turkey.

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visiting Moscow – which sent to Sicily Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence along with his allies.

Possibly Haftar was simply fed up. Twice in the past two years he has attended previous peace talks, hosted each time in Paris, giving the nod to declarations that Libya’s militias would dissolve. Yet the militias remain as strong as ever in Tripoli.

Haftar is detested by the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) but supported by a large segment of the population – 68 percent, according to an opinion poll by America’s USAID. His popularity is based on a single policy – his demand that security be in the hands of regular police and military, not the militias.

Not everyone is happy, certainly not Turkey, which is backing Islamist, MB and Misratan forces in western Libya who detest Haftar. Yet Turkey’s greatest statesman, the great Kamal Ataturk, was a champion of secularism: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War One Turkey faced the prospect of utter disintegration, and it was Attaturk who rose to the challenge, defending the country’s borders, while ordering that the mullahs, while responsible for spiritual welfare, have no political power.

Political Islam is not popular in Libya either. Libya is a Muslim country, its people know their faith, and most want government to be decided through the ballot box.

The problem for Libya is what happens next with the peace process broken. Haftar has in the past threatened to move on Tripoli and rid the militias by force if they refuse to dissolve, and it may come to that – a fierce escalation of the civil war.

The second possibility is that Libya will split. The east is, thanks to the LNA, militarily secure. It also controls two thirds of the country’s oil and operates as a separate entity, down to it banknotes, which are printed in Russia while the Tripoli government’s are printed in Britain. A formal split would be an economic boon for the lightly populated east, but a disaster for Tripolitania, its population losing most of the oil, its only source of export income.

Yet with the failure of peace talks, and no sign of Tripoli militias dissolving, military escalation or breakup seem more likely than ever.

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